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Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)

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As the debate over the application by investor Raffique Dunbar to remove a coral reef from Indian Bay that he says is dead, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wants the Vincentian public to consider a question:

“Anybody really thinks that a serious modern investor is going to want to destroy a live coral reef? 

“Now, that is a product which they would sell also,” he further said on NBC Radio on Wednesday.

Dunbar, in his application to the Physical Planning Board, said that the reef is dead, but a number of persons have challenged this assertion. 

“Now, they may be mistaken what they are asking to be done. They may be. but no one can tell me that a responsible investor in this modern world is going to want to destroy something, destroy or damage the environment, which is one the reasons they came in the first place to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to sell a product with a wholesome environment. Similarly, would anybody think that a government would want to do something to destroy the environment?” Gonsalves said. 

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He said that a lot of yachties used to drop anchor and damage the coral in the Tobago Cays. 

“We put buoys there now and we limit the number of people in the lagoon inside the Tobago Cays,” the prime minister said. 

He said it was his government that hired park rangers to ensure that all the environmental and other laws and best practices are followed in that marine park.

“So come on, let’s just let the institutions do their work. By all means, be vigilant.” 

Dunbar is seeking permission from the Physical Planning and Development Board to extract a “dead/ dying” coral reef 350 feet along the coast and 50-60 feet outwards into the sea, a total area of 17,500 square feet.

He is also proposing to place a new artificial reef at about 100-150 feet from the shore — using concrete x blocks, the surface area of which will exceed that of the extracted coral.

Dunbar’s is also asking for permission to deposit imported sand in the area to increase beach width — “beach nourishment”.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund has collected 4,163 signatures, most of them Vincentians, who oppose the removal of the reef.

Gonsalves further said that some expatriates have threatened to highlight the issue in the international media.

“But I say this, those who want to write the Miami Herald, those who want to write the New York Times, I ask a couple of questions: do they write them denouncing what the developed countries, particularly the North American countries, the USA and also Europe and also China and India are doing to despoil the environment through global warming, the climate change issues?

“Did they write and criticise Donald Trump and the US administration, as they did, out of the Paris Climate Agreement?

“When some of their out kith and kin, some, a small minority, come down here with colonial and neo-colonial attitudes, including racism against our own people, do they write the New York Times and say that some of our compatriots who come down here come down with some attitudes from a racist environment and want create problems?”

The prime minister said that in St. Vincent and other places, the grey water that comes off of places causes a lot of damage to coral.

6 replies on “Would serious, modern investors destroy live coral reef? — PM”

  1. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Mr Gonsalves has a question for the public to consider.” He asks, “Anybody really thinks that a serious modern investor is going to want to destroy a live coral reef?”

    I have two questions for Mr Gonsalves to consider, would you let a serious modern investor operate on your wife? Do you think they would really harm her?

    I have a few other questions to add but of a more general nature.

    What constitutes a serious modern investor?

    If a serious modern investor is involved in a project, is the project necessarily a serious project?

    If a serious project comes to a grinding halt because the serious modern investor has to fly out to be with his ailing mother, does the serious project take time off from seriousness and becomes serious again on his return?

    Is the investor at Black Sands a serious modern investor? And is Black Sands a serious project? Did Black Sands come to a grinding halt, too, because of an individual’s health issue?

    Why did a serious modern investor sell cement to the government? Which did not have what?

    What is a serious modern investor most serious about? `

    What is more likely the relationship between a serious modern investor and a philanthropist, direct or inverse?

    Who is this serious modern investor? Not that is matters, but I would like a chuckle.

    If a person is deemed a serious modern investor, is it a recognition for life?

    Was Dave Ames a serious modern investor? If the answer to the preceding question is “yes,” then Dave Ames is still a serious modern investor. So, invite him back.

    If the expatriates here must shut their mouths because of what the developed countries are doing to despoil the environment through global warming, then, for the same reason, Mr Gonsalves should shut his face for what his government is doing to despoil the environment through global warming and creating a serious health hazard by burning tyres at Rabacca, thereby releasing toxic carcinogenic materials.

    If monkey can see his own tail, by Mr Gonsalves argument, no body can say anything about anything.

    I had my prime minister pegged a little higher that resorting to where he took his argument, using a looser, Donald effing Trump, to make his point.

    I do not get Mr Gonsalves point about the good work he has done and is doing to preserves the reefs in the Tobago Cays. Is he saying that because he is saving coral in one area it is okay to destroy it in another?

  2. You are a very naive man, Ralph. Either that or you are playing people for fools. These people will do anything for money/profit. Coral reefs be damned!!!!

  3. Nathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    Yes they would comrade, remember there is a link between these developers and a dynasty member. So we are watching hard to see if you allow this to happen.

  4. Stanley De Passos says:

    Allowing the destruction of more coral reef at Indian Bay is a horrible idea. As the son of a Vincentian and frequent visitor to SVG beginning in 1957, I have seen numerous private projects wreck Indian Bay. On my first visit, the bay had a robust reef stretching all the way to the Coronation Club. It was full of fish and sea urchins, a wonderland for a small boy. Since then, some of the reef has been dynamited. A private breakwater hastened beach erosion. Huge boulders were deposited in another failed private construction attempt. There is now a monstrous black retaining wall. Unabated runoff from bayfront homes and roads has polluted the bay and the beach is often full of litter. The alleged ill health of the remaining reef can only be attributed to failed policies. SVG needs to protect and restore this bay rather than permitting more destruction.
    Keep in mind that the coral reef has been in the bay for thousands of years. Anything accomplished by the current proposal will last only a few years and it will destroy other neighboring habitats. It is in no way an improvement.

  5. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Mr De Passos, you are so right. I wrote about this but forgot to mention “the monstrous black retaining wall.”

    And forgot, too. the groyne that had just about the opposite effect to what it was (privately) designed – pure guesswork – to achieve.

  6. Nathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    Would serious, backward socialist country leaders destroy their own country?

    Yes they do and yes they have, take a long hard look at SVG for instance, it is seriously down the toilet under its present leadership.

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